Joseph M. Merritt
Joseph M. Merritt
  • March 12, 1952 - August 23, 2017
  • Tampa, Florida

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Joe Merritt died unexpectedly on August 23rd while running before work a regular, routine exercise. He will be remembered as a proud father, loyal brother, enthusiastic home improvement person, a wonderful friend to many at work and in his community, and a compassionate health care professional.

Joe was born in Allegany, PA, the third child of Arch and Helene Merritt. As a youngster he enjoyed sports and was active in baseball and basketball. He remained physically active all his life playing soccer and running in adulthood. He played semi-pro soccer for several teams after graduating from college. Joe enjoyed coaching youth sports and mentoring youth teams.

Joe attended the University of Kentucky graduating in 1974 with a BA in Communications. He spent 22 years working in the retail industry starting as a management trainee. Joe ended his retail career as a men’s buyer at Beall’s Department store in Bradenton, FL, where he met his beloved wife, Susanna Perrin Merritt.

In 1992, Joe returned to college to study physical therapy, but soon switched to the Physician’s Assistant program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA where he earned a Master’s degree. He returned to Florida in 1995 where he worked at BayCare Pediatric Primary Care.

In 1996, he married Susanna Perrin Merritt and they settled in Tampa, FL. January 1997 brought the birth of Andrew, their only child. Susanna died in 2010 after a valiant fight against ovarian cancer.

In 2009 Joe joined BayCare Pediatric Surgery. He worked as a clinical instructor for the Physician Assistant program at Nova Southeastern University. He was an area representative of the Florida Academy of Physician Assistants, as well as an Advanced Care Practitioner Representative for the quality control board of WellCare Insurance. He was a member of both his national and state Academies of Physician Assistants.

Joe volunteered countless hours at the Hyde Park United Methodist Church. Joe enjoyed a good tale and could often be found in a group by looking for the laughter; he would be smiling and enjoying the amusement of others in his latest story.

Joe is survived by his son Andrew, seven brothers and sisters, eight nieces and nephews, and six grand nieces and nephews. Susanna’s mother, Sue Hunter Perrin, Susanna’s two brothers and 4 nieces and nephews.

A service celebrating Joe’s life will be held at Hyde Park United Methodist Church, 500 W. Platt St, Tampa, FL 33606 on Friday, September 1, at 3 pm. Donations may be made in Joe’s memory in lieu of flowers to either Hyde Park United Methodist Church, or where his son Andrew works and worships: Hyde Park Presbyterian Church, 1309 W Swann Av., Tampa, FL 33606.